Skills Intelligence Publication

The first half of 2023 witnessed a significant increase in targeted cyberattacks aimed at data theft and ransom demands in exchange for the restoration of affected systems. European DIGITAL SME Alliance, together with Swascan, conducted an in-depth analysis of ransomware and malware scenarios, providing a detailed overview of emerging threats and evolving trends.

Ransomware victims in the first half of this year hail from a wide range of countries and islands, totaling 107 countries involved. This demonstrates that ransomware is a global issue that knows no geographical boundaries: organizations and individuals worldwide have been targeted in attacks, putting data security and operational continuity at risk.

The evolution of tactics employed by cybercriminals in these first six months of 2023 has been particularly concerning. Ransomware has become increasingly sophisticated and targeted, and numerous new ransomware gangs have emerged. This report analyses the major ransomware attacks, highlighting operational methods, victims, affected regions, and emerging trends, together with recommended security measures to mitigate the risk.

The methodological approach used was the following:

1. Identification of Dark web sites related to ransomware gangs.

2. Identification of victim companies that were published on Dark web portals.

3. Clustering of victim information in terms of:

  • Geographic area
  • Industry sector
  • Revenue and number of employees